While we’ve been waiting along with Khabib Nurmagomedov on the sidelines for an announcement, we got our wish yesterday. A fight with Edson Barboza was made official to fight at UFC 219. This is a time for celebration, but fans and media can’t help but have painful flashbacks to the fights Nurmagomedov has had to pull out of. For most of 2016, we were hyped Tony Ferguson would fight Khabib, but it never materialized. Barboza isn’t worried about all that though, he’s just happy to finally fight one of the best in the world.
“Khabib [Nurmagomedov] is a great fighter. He’s a true fighter. I knew if this contract comes on his head, he’s signing. This is an opportunity to have the two best lightweights in the world fighting. He definitely want the best and is one of the best and it makes me very excited for this fight. Definitely not [worried about Nurmagomedov not showing up]. I know Injuries happen all the time. I never fight 100% in my body in my life. Always every fighter have some injuries. Maybe I can get hurt in my camp. This happens to everybody and I’m not scared about this. […] He train so hard. I think for sure he train very hard. Sometimes it happens. I can’t do nothing. If you don’t train, you not get hurt. But me I train hard all the time, he trains hard all the time. I hope it doesn’t happen with me and him.”
— UFC (@ufc) October 27, 2017
“[Nurmagomedov]’s one of the best in the world. I really want to fight with the best guys in the world. I train my whole life to fight with the best guys in the world. And so I want to fight with him. Now I have the opportunity to fight one of the best guys and I’m happy. If I beat Khabib, I definitely fight for the title shot. I don’t know if I fight with Conor [McGregor]. I really hope to fight with [Tony] Ferguson because in my opinion he’s a true champ. He’s the real champ and if I win against Khabib, I hope to fight with Ferguson.” — Edson Barboza speaking to MMA Fighting.
For a guy who is ranked number three in the lightweight division, Edson Barboza has been creeping up while all the other drama has been going on. He’s got a huge challenge in front of him for December 30th, but with big risks come greater rewards. If Barboza takes out Nurmagomedov, it’s hard to deny a title shot. Whether that’s going to be against Tony Ferguson or Conor McGregor, is another story entirely.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/28/2017.